26 November 2002 – Belfast-based Viridian Group today commenced feeding power into the Republic of Ireland’s power grid with the announcement that Huntstown Power, Ireland’s first fully independent power station has started commercial operations.

The new state-of-the-art gas-fired power plant, located in north Co. Dublin can deliver 343 MW of power into the national grid, accounting for up to ten per cent of the country’s annual electricity requirements, and was formally taken over by Huntstown Power Company’s Chief Executive, David de Casseres, a full 14 days ahead of programme.

Huntstown Power Company, the owner of the power station, is a fully owned subsidiary of Viridian Group PLC. The Huntstown project began back in 1997 as an initiative to respond to the need for more power generation capacity. As the electricity market in Ireland began opening to independent competition, the project took the leading position as the first fully independent power project to engage in the new market.

Construction work on site began in December 2000, with Siemens Limited engaged as the turnkey contractor for the project. Since start-up full effort was focused on the need to meet an undertaking (given to the Irish Government as part of the competitive process for allocation of gas capacity) that the plant would be capable of delivering independent power to the market by 1 June 2002, and would be fully operational by 6 December 2002. All of the commitments made by the project have been met, ahead of schedule and within budget.

Commenting on today’s announcement, David de Casseres said, “We are delighted to be the first truly independent player to bring much needed capacity to the Irish market. We set ourselves an ambitious target right from the start and proved our commitment and ability by delivering Huntstown on time, and on budget, as we have consistently promised the Irish Government and the CER since market opening in February 2000.”

The opening of the Irish energy market developed as a result of the widening EU market liberalisation, combined with the unprecedented pace of economic growth and the severe shortage of generation capacity within Ireland. The Viridian Group, the Northern Ireland based group, which also owns Northern Ireland Electricity, became one of very few developers to enter the market place following market opening in February 2000, and is so far the only company to have invested in the construction of a power station.

The investment of ?255m is a fundamental part of Viridian’s commitment to being a long-term major player in the all-island energy market of the future. The output of the power station is being sold direct to customers by Energia, which as Viridian’s competitive energy supply business has built up a significant position in the independent marketplace.